Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Gerbera Daisies

Gerbera daisies are one of the most popular cut flowers in the United States, especially at weddings and parties. They have long stems and can be used successfully in table and altar arrangements. The genus Gerbera is known as the African daisy because the plant is native to the continent, and grows wild across the entire country.

Gerbera daisies were discovered in South Africa in 1884 and are named for two scientists who figure prominently in the plant’s discovery and in the science of botany, Robert Jameson and Traugott Gerber. Traugott traveled in Russia in 1743 and started first botanical garden in Moscow.

Preferring cooler evenings, gerbera daisies perform best in the spring and the fall and must have heat relief in the mid-summer, such as afternoon shade, or they wilt. Plants come in dozens of eye-catching color variations from pale to bold shades.

Gerbera daisies can grow as tall as 12 to 14 inches at maturity and offer medium to large flowers that range in color from white to deep burgundy.

Flowers have velvety petals, large eyes and rest on thick, leafless stems above the plant’s crown. Gerbera daisies tolerate summer heat if given afternoon shade. Pine-straw mulch will protect it from winter freezes; the mulch must be removed early in spring to allow the remerging plant to sprout.

Applications of soil acidifiers or acid organic matter and fertilizers may be needed to keep the leaves a healthy green in iron-poor and alkaline soils, such as those in South Texas, where the plant is prone to chlorosis.
Gerbera Daisies
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